If you ask just about any resident of Louisville what event kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival, most will say Thunder Over Louisville. While Thunder typically is the kickoff to the two week festival before the Kentucky Derby, we actually start celebrating the Derby in Louisville at least a month earlier. Thunder Over Louisville isn’t until April 20th this year, but there are actually Kentucky Derby Festival events that start in March. The kickoff for me is The Taste of Kentucky Derby Festival. Maybe it’s because I’m kind of a food nerd, or maybe it has to do with the two or three times I participated as an employee of Cafe Lou Lou, but either way, there is no denying the fun and deliciousness of this event!
This year the 15th annual Taste of Kentucky Derby Festival is on Wednesday, April 17th from 5:30-8:30 pm at Louisville Slugger Field ( i am talking about ‘taste of derby festival’, not ‘taste of derby’, which is only in its fourth year). Not only will you taste some of the most incredible dishes from over 60 different Louisville restaurants, you will taste fine bourbon, you might catch the bloody mary contest, and you can also mingle with local chefs and fellow Louisvillians, all while supporting a good cause, the Dare to Care Food Bank. Tickets to the Taste of Kentucky Derby Festival are $80 (of which, $50 is tax deductible), and they ALWAYS sell out. I will usually buy a few extras and invite some friends in town from Cincy or Indy for the night. It is definitely a great time for Louisville to shine!
If you like Kentucky Derby Festival, you like good food, and you like helping others that need food, the Taste of Kentucky Derby Festival is your kickoff for the Kentucky Derby. Get tickets, invite friends, taste great new dishes and learn about great new Louisville restaurants, see friends, celebrate the spring, and most importantly… help feed those in our region that need it most.